After a brief stop at the Dwarven Castle to drop things off with the fattest possible chocobo, it’s time to head to the Feymarch! To do that, I’m sure we’ll have to penetrate a cunning illusion that hides this mystical land, surely secreted away from mortal voyagers, kept behind a veil of – oh, we just fly due west for a couple of minutes and then land on an island.
I suppose this at least answers the question of how Rydia got underground to save the party before, although how she crossed all of that lava is a different question. Maybe she’s a really good jumper.
The Passage of the Eidolons looks a lot like the Sylph Cave but with its colors swapped; to its credit, that actually feels very different and ominous. Lots of hard-hitting enemies in here, but that’s to be expected, since we’re not supposed to actually be here until later in the game. (Probably. Sidequests, you know how they go.) At least we no longer have to deal with Malboros and constant Sleep effects, although the Confusion that can be tossed around is pretty annoying.
Here we are, back at the tower again, assaulting it in the hopes of accomplishing… something. I’m not entirely clear on what the heroes plan to actually do here. On one level, we’re sort of chasing Rubicante, or Edge certainly is; on another level, it’s one of those situations wherein the plot has stepped back to allow the player to keep moving forward based solely on what’s available to access. Since the Tower of Babil features rather prominently in Golbez’s plan, I suppose anything that involves us screwing with it is probably a good thing.
It is neat that you see this tower from two sides, though, with this run starting closer to the top while the previous one started at the bottom. Edge helpfully ninja-moves us into the tower proper, and the group can start heading toward… wherever Rubicante is now. Hey, maybe he he still has the crystals! That would be a good thing. Let’s go with that as our motivation, then.
The road to the Tower of Babil is a long one. Part of that is because it is not, strictly speaking, a road; it’s a layer of solid rock over rivers of magma. Another part of that is that it is not a tourist destination. Much as I like the idea of dwarven groups riding little dwarven tour buses back and forth, sending postcards that read “LALI-HO FROM THE TOWER OF BABIL,” that’s not what happens.
I keep getting my hopes up, but it’s time to face fact.
After a fairly long trek, the dwarven tanks are finally visible, opening fire on the tower as a distraction tactic. That’s enough distraction for the group to slip in on the bottom floor, rushing toward the obviously advanced facility suspended over a river of lava. The casual presence of technology feels a bit disconnected, but it’s also an interesting echo of the endgame portions of Final Fantasy I, a world far bigger than the pseudo-medieval setting that has seemed fairly stable up until now.
Apparently, collecting all of the Crystals will open the path to the moon, which Golbez thinks is super important. Kain also has the Magma Stone, which he’s sure can be used to enter the Underworld, although he’s not sure how or when or why or any of that stuff. That’s some real good thinking there, Kain. Cid is undeterred, however, claiming the group can just fly around on the Enterprise until they find the right place.
I would have thought the Enterprise got destroyed when the Tower of Zot collapsed, but apparently it has a plot-specific autopilot that brought it back to Baron.
Everyone goes to sleep for the night, I assume in the same bed, and then it’s off to find the next place we have to go. Of course, if you’d already explored and found the town where everyone is apparently part dwarf, you can probably piece together what you have to do next. Time for a quick restock and then a trip to a weird little village with a pit!
While we’ve already had to ditch all of our metallic equipment (i.e. most of the good equipment we’ve got) just to approach the stupid dungeon, there’s one more hoop to jump through – reaching it. That means a trip way to the north to pick up a chocobo capable of crossing rivers, something that’s only vaguely hinted at by the game. It’s easy to miss the very existence of these chocobo forests, so that doesn’t help matter. And, unfortunately, there’s no way to just bring the airship up to the darn thing…
Anyhow. The net upside is that you have to catch a Black Chocobo, which will allow you to fly over, land in the forest, and then get moving. No idea how we’re getting back, but that’s how these things go. Tellah and Yang are quite confident that this cave shouldn’t pose a problem despite the fact that the other half of the party does, in fact, make use of metallic stuff. Also, there’s the fact that Tellah barely has enough MP to sustain casting for long. Also, Yang is kind of terrible. Neither of them thought this plan out at all.